Hospital negligence occurs when a hospital employee injures a patient through a negligent act, error, or omission. However, determining whether it was the hospital or a doctor who was ultimately responsible can be a difficult task, and should not be attempted without the assistance of a skilled and experienced Ohio medical malpractice attorney.
A common misconception is that hospitals are liable for the malpractice of an individual doctor. In many cases, doctors are not employees of a hospital. Instead, they may have admitting privileges at a hospital, but function as independent contractors. Negligence by a doctor does not necessarily mean that the hospital will be held liable.
In some cases, however, doctors are employees of the hospital. Determining whether a doctor is or is not employed by a hospital is a complicated question that you should only attempt to answer with the assistance of an experienced Ohio medical malpractice attorney.
This is just one reason why it’s important to have a skilled and experienced Ohio medical malpractice attorney on your side to investigate a possible claim against the individual doctor or doctors who was negligent, as well as whether there may be a case against the hospital.
To qualify as hospital negligence, the following characteristics must be met:
A hospital can be held liable for the negligence of its employees. Nurses, medical technicians, and support staff are usually employed by the hospital. If one of these employees was performing a job-related function (i.e. caring for a patient) and the patient was injured as a result, the hospital may be liable for the injury.
Depending on who was providing the service, examples of hospital negligence may include:
The hospital may also be held liable if it failed to make reasonable inquiries when hiring staff. This may include keeping a physician on staff when the hospital knew or should have known that the doctor was incompetent or dangerous.
A hospital may also be negligent if it gives staff privileges to an incompetent doctor, or if the hospital knew or should have known that a particular physician was incompetent or dangerous.
For example, if a hospital knows that a doctor is addicted to drugs but the hospital nonetheless allows the doctor to continue admitting patients and having staff privileges, the hospital might be liable for the actions of the doctor.
Likewise, hospitals are required to ensure that there is sufficient medical staff on duty at all times to maintain quality patient care. If hospital understaffing resulted in a patient injury, the hospital may be held liable.
The hospital may also be held responsible if it appeared to the patient that the doctor was employed by a hospital. Many hospitals attempt to avoid this problem by informing patients on admissions forms that the doctor is not a hospital employee.
Winning a hospital negligence case can be very difficult. First and foremost, it’s important to know whether you need to sue the doctor, the hospital, individual hospital employees, or some combination of all of them.
If you or someone you love was injured due to hospital negligence, it’s important that you have a skilled and experienced Ohio medical malpractice attorney on your side.
Contact an Ohio medical malpractice attorney at Robenalt Law today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call 216-223-7535, complete our online form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing doctors and hospitals at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 20 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent health care providers.